At Hagel Lawfirm, we have seen a wide variety of scenarios in which surviving family members have been confused and hurt by their loved ones' estate planning.
The question of how to cover estate taxes is a common dilemma in estate planning. With that in mind, one thing you may want to avoid is saddling one of your beneficiaries with the tax bill while essentially allowing another beneficiary to avoid estate taxes altogether. This situation could produce heart-rending conflict among your beneficiaries.
Family dynamics often have a bearing on how smoothly wealth passes from one generation to the next. At Hagel Lawfirm, we have seen how differences among family members can have a negative impact on the value of an estate, and we work with our clients to help them avoid such an outcome.
There used to be a perception that only extremely wealthy people set up trusts, but the reality is that a trust does not have to be large to be effective. Some trusts hold millions of dollars; others are much smaller.
The tax free savings account is a cost-effective investment tool not only because it shields your savings from taxes, but also because a TFSA is not necessarily subject to probate and can be used to pass an inheritance confidentially to a beneficiary.
The job of administering a trust is overwhelming for many people. In fact, many Canadians who are named as estate trustees have little or no experience in carrying out the required duties, yet trustees can be held liable for mistakes. Disputes over trust administration can also lead to costly litigation.
While many people take the important estate planning steps of creating a will, assigning powers of attorney and, if appropriate, establishing a trust, far too many people never get around to updating their plans after major life events occur.
When planning your estate, you undoubtedly want to take steps to minimize probate fees, avoid unnecessary taxes and protect assets for heirs and beneficiaries. Creating a trust can be an excellent way of ensuring those outcomes.
Estate litigation is often a result of conflicts that did to get addressed during the estate planning process. Much of estate planning involves consideration of specific family dynamics. For example, maybe one heir to an estate handles money matters particularly well, while another certainly doesn't -- or at least not yet. To protect estate assets, you can account for family dynamics with a number of estate planning items, including your will and, if you choose, a trust.
Over the last several decades, the definition of the traditional family has undergone something of a transformation. To illustrate, consider how our views of the typical family have evolved from beyond the traditional nuclear family -- a once-married couple and their dependent children -- to include everything from single parents to so-called blended families.